Your location is set to Dartford
Published: 14:00, 19 August 2014 |
Updated: 14:45, 19 August 2014
Part-time crew manager Mark Simpson and firefighter Gary Newing have been based at Sheerness station for the past three decades.
As a youngster Mr Simpson was a St John Ambulance volunteer. After doing some fire safety training, he decided to sign up to the fire service in 1985, and has spent the past 10 years as Sheerness crew manager.
The 45-year-old civil servant recalls one of the biggest fires was at Kemsley Paper Mill many years ago, when more than 50 fire engines had to tackle the blaze, which was one of the biggest in Kent since the war.
Halfway resident Mr Simpson said: “Firefighter Newing and myself are the last of our original crew. It’s time for the new generation to take over.
“I have given a combined total of 35-year service to the public, so I would like to try something new with different challenges.
“It may also be nice for my family to know I will be staying at the dinner table and not running out of the house or coming home at all hours.”
His last day will be at the end of the month, while Mr Newing signed off on Monday.
The dad of two joined the fire service in 1980 after seeing a recruitment advert.
The 55-year-old, also from Halfway, remembers the mill fire, too, as well as another incident when they managed to free a man trapped in a bakery cutting machine without him losing any of his limbs.
Mr Newing said he never wanted to go full-time but enjoyed the role as something different to his normal job as a joiner at Pilkington Automotive in Queenborough, where he will carry on working.
“It’s very challenging sometimes and you can find yourself in difficult situations,” he said.
“But everybody works as a team, and it’s putting something back into the community. I will miss the camaraderie.”
He also thanked his wife, Judith and sons, Christopher and Martin, for their support over the years.
The pair were presented with their Certificates of Service by area manager Steve Jeffery at the station in High Street, Sheerness, last Tuesday.
Every morning at 10am we play you an hour of tunes from the 90s. We call it, #WeLoveThe90s.
Play 'Say It' with Garry and Laura on kmfm Breakfast and you could win £1,000!
Wake up to kmfm Breakfast with Garry and Laura - it's Kent's alarm call.
A guide for your future. For year 11 students in Kent and Medway. Click here for the e-edition.
Education, Training & Childcare is a special supplement published by KM Media Group four times a year. Click here for latest e-edition.
This is a brand new online resource covering every aspect of owning and improving a home in Kent and Medway.
Get the latest food and drink news, recipes from some of the nation's top chefs plus updates from Kent's vineyards and breweries.
Search in your local area to find your perfect partner in Kent, with FreshStart Dating! PLUS, register for free!.
Neil Miller, Hever Castle head gardener is new gardening blogger.
Buy pictures that you've seen in a KM newspaper, or send in a picture and we will place it on our photo sales website so that you can purchase a super, unique gift.